Following the recent elections in Elmbridge the Conservatives lost control. The only borough in the country for that to happen – although the Conservative Party also lost Worcester City.
With 22 councillors and just short of the 25 required, it was entirely possible for the Conservative Party to run Elmbridge as a minority administration. Similarly, with 19 councillors it was possible for the Residents’ Parties to run it too. The Conservatives could govern as long as the Liberal Democrats abstained when votes came to the full council and the Residents could given as long as the Liberal Democrats on voted with them. Whilst this could undoubtedly work – and a number of boroughs operate this way across the country – the Liberal Democrat Party considered that a coalition with a clear programme would be beneficial.
When a similar situation occurred at the national level in 2010 the Liberal Democrats had only the one option – join or not with the Conservatives but here in Elmbridge the Lib Dems could theoretically work with either party.
As the Conservatives had lost 11 councillors and the Liberal Democrats and Residents had held the same numbers we felt that the people were looking for a change so we decided to open discussions with the Residents’ Parties with a joint programme.
Our aim is to achieve further improvements in services to residents of the borough; in particular, over the coming year, we will be looking to:
- introduce free parking on Saturdays in the borough car parks, as appropriate.
- review planning enforcement,
- undertake a number of policy reviews in key areas to underpin future decision making.
- review the working of the Grounds Maintenance Contract, and
- ensure a smooth introduction of the new Joint Waste Management Contract, start date June 2017.
These key areas would fall under the responsibility of various cabinet members, notably: highways and transport (parking); planning services (enforcement); leisure and culture (grounds maintenance); and, environment (waste management).
The cabinet members are as follows:
Although the focus is on the four main concerns the reviews will be used to develop further action in due course.